Tips for Choosing a Quality Hospice

When a loved one is diagnosed with a serious or life-limiting illness, the questions facing an individual or a family can be overwhelming. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recommends that people learn more about hospice as an important option before they are faced with a medical crisis.

A free worksheet from NHPCO, “Choosing a Quality Hospice for You or a Loved One,” will help patients and families with some of the important questions they should consider when learning about or choosing a hospice.

Some of the questions important in choosing a quality hospice include:

  1. Is the hospice Medicare certified?
  2. When was the last state or federal survey of the program?
  3. Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?
  4. What services should you expect from the hospice based on your circumstances?
  5. How are services provided after hours?
  6. How and where does hospice provide short-term inpatient care?
  7. What services do volunteers offer?
  8. How long does it typically take the hospice to enroll someone once the request for services is made?

“Choosing a hospice to care for yourself or a loved one might seem overwhelming, that’s why it’s important to look into options before you’re facing a medical crisis,” said Edo Banach NHPCO president and CEO.  “Ask about the services and support that you can expect based on your specific medical condition to find the community provider best equipped to meet your needs.”

The family doctor, attending physician, other healthcare provider, or even family friends that have taken advantage of hospice services in the past would be another source of recommendations for a provider in your area.

Another common question is when is it best to begin hospice care. Every patient and family must decide that based upon their unique needs, however, professionals encourage people to learn about care options long before they think they may need them. And hospice should not be thought of as “brink of death” care.  Hospice is best provided in the final months of life and not the final days.

Visit NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org to learn more about hospice care or to find a hospice organization in your area.

NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org offers a wealth of information to help people learn more about hospice or to find a provider in the community. And the website MomentsofLife.org offers videos, stories and information about all that hospice can do to help patients and families make more meaningful moments possible.

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